Standard Vehicle Liveries

NBC “Poppy Red” Livery

At the formation of the company on the 6th September 1981, Midland Red (North) Limited inherited 121 Leyland Nationals from the Midland Red Omnibus Company Limited (MROC). These carried standard National Bus Company “Poppy Red” livery with a white band above the windows, which displayed the local MAP area brand name.

The management of the newly formed company believed the image of the old Midland Red had been tarnished in the eyes of the public during the late 1970s, and wished to create a new image for Midland Red North that distanced themselves as much as possible. The decision was taken to focus upon the local identities, which had been created in the area by Market Analysis Project (MAP) schemes between 1978 and 1980. Each brand name received its own colour coding, which replaced the white NBC band on buses, and the area brand name was shown on this in white. While the NBC “double–N” logo and poppy-red livery remained, the name “Midland Red” disappeared completely, except for legal lettering.

Colour coding for the local areas were:

pre-Privatisation bus livery

At the run up to privatisation in 1986, Midland Red (North) Limited wished to distance itself from the images of both the old Midland Red, and from the National Bus Company (NBC). After considering a number of new liveries proposed by various marketing consultancy, the company introduced an overall white livery with diagonal stripes of claret and yellow near the rear of the vehicle. Local area names from the Market Analysis Project (MAP) schemes were shown in large yellow and red lettering across the front and along the sides, with the letters “MRN” shown in a red disc.

This livery was phased out when Midland Red (North) Limited was privatised and sold to the Drawlane Group of Salisbury on 27th January 1988.

Bus livery

Upon privatisation on 27th January 1988, the new owners of Midland Red (North) Limited, the Drawlane Group of Salisbury, immediately introduced a new livery in a style in-line with their group image. The MAP area names continued to be used, but were now much smaller and shown with equal prominence to the resurrected “Midland Red” name.

Coach livery

In the late 1980s, Mr Chris Hilditch was appointed as Managing Director for Midland Red (North) Limited, and he soon decided that he wanted two distinct identities to distinguish between bus and coach operations. At the time, Leyland National fleet number 766 (registration number BVP766V) was carrying the current bus livery but with the white body and yellow relief reversed, following a mistake at Carlyle Works when the vehicle was painted. The new Managing Director liked this erroneous livery and it was chosen to be the new company coach livery.

The local management at Tamworth depot argued that the yellow coach version of the livery should be applied to all their vehicles, as they operated important routes into Birmingham and they felt it was essential to have a recognisable eye catching colour scheme to distinguish themselves from the many other operators in the City. Head office at Cannock agreed and therefore all vehicles operating from Tamworth depot carried this yellow and red coach livery.

Note: Confusingly, all Midland Red North minibuses were initially all reprinted to coach livery, but later received the white and red bus livery.

BMMO Style Livery

In 1992, to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the opening of Wellington depot, Midland Red (North) Limited repainted Leyland Tiger fleet number 1705 (registration number A705HVT) into overall red BMMO livery, in the style used at the time of the depot opening in 1932 Photograph ]. This proved to be very popular with the public, and the company immediately decided to repaint one vehicle from each of their depots in to the same livery. Another Leyland Tiger, fleet number 1713, and a Leyland Olympian were chosen for
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